Meal prep has become a ritual for me every Sunday. I spend the morning researching recipes for lunch and dinner of the upcoming week. I think about snacks that will sound good in the middle of a long work day and also what kind of fruit I feel like adding to my breakfast routine. I scope my refrigerator and pantry for inventory and write out my grocery list. Later in the day, I will do my grocery store run, cook up the dishes and store in re-portioned containers.
While I love the hour or two spent in the kitchen preparing for the week ahead, I know there are pro’s and con’s to meal prep. Everybody has their own style in the kitchen, so read through my list of both sides of the story to see if you think doing weekly meal prep is for you.
Pro: One visit to the grocery store is all you’ll need to get food and ingredients for the whole week. Plus, it’s usually less busy on the weekends than in the post-work rush hour.
Con: Making a grocery list can feel like a homework assignment. Grocery shopping is sometimes the last thing you want to do on a Sunday morning while you’re sipping your coffee (unless you can roll up in your pj’s).
Pro: Putting in a couple of hours on Sunday will save you from making a new dinner every night and a new lunch each morning before work.
Con: You have to spend several hours in the kitchen cleaning, prepping, and cooking multiple recipes on the weekend when you could be exploring the city, at the gym….or really just laying in bed watching TV.
Pro: You have at least four dinners and four lunches ready for the week. Soups, meats and bold flavors actually tend to get better with time, so the dishes develop more flavor each day.
Con: You set yourself up for leftovers for several days in a row. On the fourth day of chicken salad you may actually rather go hungry than eat it…again.
Bonus pro: The minute you get home from work, you don’t have to think even about what’s on the menu for the week because it’s already done! Plus, you can spice up the dish each day with a new topping or transform it in a new way.
So what do you think? Have the pros of doing meal prep on the weekend won you over? In my experience, once you’re in the habit of spending time on meal prep, you will feel less stressed during the week. I know I especially enjoy those few extra minutes of sleeping in each work day since my lunch is ready to go. Tracy, from the blog Shutterbean, was the woman who made me inspired to meal prep. In this post she talks all about her routine, why she does it and her favorite recipes for meal prep.
Here are a few recipes from around the web on my Sunday Meal Prep radar: Chicken Tortilla Soup reminds me of my Southwest roots, so I want to try out this recipe in a slow cooker for the first time! This would be easy to bring for lunch to work. I have some tofu in the freezer I want to use in the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps. Using crisp lettuce one night and regular tortillas another will make this dinner feel new after a few nights. Now that it is officially winter and a warm breakfast is exactly what I need to fuel my morning, I want to try these instructions for making oatmeal for the week. I always bring my breakfast to work, so this will be easy to transport.
I would love to hear what recipes you are looking forward to trying out for meal prep! Comment below or send me a Snapchat of your cooking in action. My username is GourmetGab.
Love food. Love self. Love life.